Monday, February 29, 2016

just jackets and cool coats

We always seem to rush winter away.  And I must say, I'm ok with that.  I love warm weather, plenty of sunshine, being outside, and an abundance of fresh fruits, flowers, and long, warm summer nights.  For me, that lull between winter and spring is always a hard time for dressing.  I'm desperate for the brighter, warmer colors and freer fabrics we usually see in spring, but hate being unprepared for those still-looming cold, dreary days of wintertime. I often end up in shed-able layers and armed with extra accessories for warmth and winter weather protection.  Put an extra spring in your step with these crazy cool coats.  Your outwear is more than just a jacket when it's well edited, well tailored, and packed full of style.
Filson's Short Lined Cruiser is a water-repellent Tin Cloth jacket that's fully lined with Cover Cloth and has a hip-length hem for mobility.  Think fashion + function with style + class. US$325 at Filson and other fine retailers.

Barbour's iconic motorcycle jacket, the International, was created in 1936 and became the biker jacket of choice through the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Staying true to that heritage, the International Original is constructed in a heavyweight 8oz Sylkoil waxed cotton, offering a stylish matte finish and road-ready protection. Its robust front zip sits beneath a stud-fastening storm fly front, and the funnel collar is lined with corduroy for insulation and a luxurious feel against the skin. The lightweight cotton lining carries the signature Barbour tartan and is studded to take the optional Warm Pile Lining, for added versatility.

Traditional biker jacket details include the buckle-fastening throat strap, adjustable studded cuffs, a stiffened waist belt and the trademark four studded pockets - one of which is the authentic slanted map pocket, designed to give easy access while riding. Part of the World Tour collection, the International Original is available in classic Black with the infamous Barbour International logo to the chest. 

Brunello Cuccinelli is simply sublime.  The design, the fabrics, the construction, I can't get enough or say enough good things.  The hooded parka above features Stretch natté cotton with monili detail and is made in Italia.  The jacket below takes the best of a techno-ski coat and a blazer, is made of Nylon outerwear with Thermore® padding, and also made in Italia.

Ladies, if you don't already own a motorcycle jacket, buy one now.  It's the perfect way to throw some edge to your elegant evenings over a dress, or to revv up your jeans and plain white t.  Pick a tailored fit with long, lean arms.  The faux leather version below is a very accessible US$98 at from topshop at Nordstrom.

Influenced by car coats from the 1930s, the jacket below is fully lined design is made from Italian full-grain cowhide and heavily distressed for a vintage-inspired appearance, by RRL.

Nothing is more cozy or comfy than cashmere.  It's the ultimate luxury, like 360 Cashmere's Eloise Sweater.  Add a bit of flirty fringe and you've got your new go-to for any chilly day.  The long, asymmetrical front is super flattering; the bold stripes add a sporty flair.  100% cashmere.  100% cool.  Available at modelcitizen

How do you stay warm and cheery?

Friday, February 26, 2016

high top fashion

I'm loving high-top sneakers lately.  You get the sportiness of a trainer with the height of a boot, while still being casually trendy and comfortable.  Talk about the best of both worlds.

Deceptively simple and perfectly refined—a chukka style sneaker, like Stefano below from Peter Nappi, in black cavallo leather featuring single-piece construction, medium toe, minimalist eyelets, leather laces, and vero cuoio sole. Hits above ankle, is made in Italy from a single piece of leather, and is the perfect example.  You can rock this with jeans and your favorite t-shirt, or a suit, and everything in between.
Culver is a featherweight high top plimsole that comes in a soft velveteen calf or suede. Just recently released for fall/winter 2015, it comes in colors of dusk and chalk, tones inspired by the coastal landscapes of John Lobb's homecounty of Cornwall.

Bedford High Top Sneakers from John Varvatos bring a certain coolness to any wardrobe and pairs the appeal of casual kicks with a sleek and fresh option that will pair with both your weekend and work week attire. Features lace up styling, contoured topstitching and a textured sole.  Phone Paul at JV in Los Angeles for more details or to order your own: 1.310.859.2791.

Gucci is fierce for floral with these crazy awesome blooming high tops -  Beige/ebony GG supreme canvas with blooms print, made using an earth-conscious process and feature a traction friendly rubber sole, leather tongue, and the traditional logo canvas you know and love.  Jenny at Gucci Boutique Orlando is your go-to for details or to order: 1.407.903.1033.

Geox literally have your feet breathe a sigh of relief, and I'm love these Box 8 high tops.  Soft suede, grainy Italian leather and padded canvas at the ankle form high-top city sneakers that also feature a sturdy rubber sole with patented Respira technology that expels moisture as you walk.
And for the ultimate in luxury and exclusivity, dream for Jackson, the Hermes men's sneaker in calfskin with black and orange Sport sole, orange H relief print and white laces.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

take a NApp.

There are three hot topics on my mind:

-- the iPhone revolutionized my life.  Plain and simple.  Point and click.  And for nearly every task, "there's an app for that!"

-- Nespresso revolutionized my life.  Nestle, the parent company, buys nearly 1/3 of the world's coffee, and reserves the top 1% for their own brand.  Beans are expertly ground and hermetically sealed for ultimate freshness and convenience.  Each machine has 19 bars of pressure and a flash heating system, delivering a perfect, hot espresso each and every time.  And those capsules are delivered right to your front door the very next day, and cost less than a buck.  I've been a fan, and will continue to sing their praises (and dedicate nearly each of my Nespresso daily on my personal Facebook page).

-- I love Naps.  They are the ultimate luxury, and make any day better.

Put them all together and you get, what I'm calling, NApp. 

Today, Nespresso launches their newest machine, Prodigio.  From what I can tell, it's an upgraded version of their tried-and-true Citiz, with a mind of it's own.  With the new Nespresso application, you'll get updates on everything from machine maintenance, reminders when to descale or order more capsules, and can even control the machine and set timers to brew Nespresso automatically, as if the 30 seconds it takes to prepare a Nespresso were so last season

In all fairness, I do see one problem: there's no internal housing for capsules inside the machine, so you'll have to "preload" the machine each evening, if you utilize the automatic brewing feature.  But, I still think it's a pretty novel feature.  Or at least a cool party trick.

How do you Nespresso?

Monday, February 22, 2016

a-peel-ing skincare 

It's no secret, I love skincare.  Maybe it's because my dear Mother had skin cancer for most of my life, and we grew up knowing how to care for our skin, from face washes and exfoliants to the ever important sun screens.  It's a daily ritual I've come to love, and really enjoy learning about new ingredients, trendy treatments, and cutting-edge technology in the industry.

At some point, we've all been responsible for cleaning the kitchen or bathroom floors.  One typically follows these steps:

-- remove as many objects as possible, like area rugs, mobile pieces of furniture, etc
-- sweep away debris
-- mop with special solution / cleansers
-- steam or use special techniques for problem areas
-- allow to dry, accentuate with pretty things

These same steps for floorcare can be applied to skincare.  You'd never mop before you swept.  And sometimes you have to break out the steam mop to remove extra layers of grime and gunk.  This is just like your face, and why it's so important to consider a facial peel.

Skincare isn't just for middle aged women.  It doesn't have to be fussy or complicated, either.  80% of your skin damage is done by the time you're 18, so it's never too early to start using a little effort for a big result.  The skin is your body's largest organ, and should be treated appropriately.  Facial peels are one effective treatment I love, and are received at a medical spa or trusted dermatologist's office.  And now, you can even peel at home or on the go.

For those who don't know, Dr. Dennis Gross is a board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon, with his own specialized dermatology practice in New York City. He is an industry expert, focusing on skin cancer research and pioneering techniques for healthy, radiant skin, and promotes both the industry and his own skincare range with frequent rounds on the daytime television circuit, in numerous beauty and entertainment magazines.

 Last week I was visiting my ever-awesome local Nordstrom and met Enrique from Dr. Dennis Gross. To be honest, I had never even heard of Dr. Gross or experienced his products.  Enrique kindly offered a complimentary facial and demonstration.  And I must say, the results are beyond appealing  I'm hooked.  Instantly my skin felt fresh and firm, with a soft, velvety touch.  I looked awake and alert, without the "surgical surprise" or redness you'd expect to see after intense treatments in an office.  And the next day, the results only got better. 

Peels work with a two-pronged plan of action: first, thanks to alpha and beta hydroxy acids, exfoliation gently sweeps away dead skin cells from the top layer of the skin and nourishes with revitalizing vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals.  Retinol peels exfoliate by encouraging fresh cells to surface faster, working together to achieve a brighter, refreshed complexion.

What's most appealing about Dr. Gross?  Where do I begin?  Firstly, the peels are effective and gentle.  This is a big deal in the industry, and quite honestly, separates the professionals from the amateurs.  It's very rare to find clinical strength products that are safe, effective, and gentle on the skin.  You don't have to worry about looking like you fell asleep in a tanning bed for two weeks and are bright red.  And you're also not paying for watered down, ineffective creams and magic potions that pack everything but results.  Secondly, I love that the peels are delivered through travel friendly wipes.  There's no guessing how much solution you should apply, no wasting money by using too much product - you literally tear open the packet, follow the quick instructions, and continue with your daily beauty regimen.   As an added bonus, the entire range is Cruelty Free, many of which are also vegan friendly.

Just like your dermatologist focuses on your exact skincare concerns, so too does Dr. Gross's skincare collection.  There's literally something for every skin - from fine lines and wrinkles, to loss of firmness and brilliance, large pores, dry and rough texture, acne and oily skins, redness and sensitivity, and the non-negotiable sun protection.  The collection offers peels, cleansers, serums, moisturizers, treatments, masks, oils, and even sunless tanning products, haircare, and steamer solutions. 

Of course, in a perfect world, skin care companies would always have it that you exclusively use their brand.  I don't work for any skincare companies, so I like to pick and choose what's best for me and recommend things I'm loving as well.  Whatever skincare you're currently using, I think everyone could benefit from using one of Dr. Gross's skin peels.  After all, you want to maximize the efficacy of your skincare products and have them absorb deep into your skin, not the dead cells that will just flake away.  Using it regularly will sweep away your skin's pore-clogging debris and ultimately prep the skin to receive your favorite lotions, potions, tonics, and creams.  Sounds appealing to me.

Dr. Gross' skincare is available at his office in New York and online, or through Nordstrom and Sephora.  Have questions?  Call Broderick at Nashville's Nordstrom Advanced Skin Care Counter on 615.850.6700. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

paint the world (red)

(red) isn't a charity.  it's a way of thinking.  put your money where your mouth is and do some good.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I love skincare, and might be borderline addicted, if not at least obsessed.  I love trying new products, learning about new ingredients, and discovering what others love and have realized real results.  I've always liked how scientific and effective Murad skincare, and recently tried their new Murad Professional range Eye Lift.  And I must say, I'm definitely a fan.

In a trial by Dr. Murad, users reported:
• 86% noticed a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in one week
• 2x visibly firmer skin instantly
• 93% noticed skin was smoother instantly 

Eye Lift Firming Treatment was developed by dermatologist Dr. Murad and focuses on anti-aging and makes for more youthful, radiant skin around the eyes.  This treatment infuses the delicate eye area with exclusive, proprietary surface-filling and firming technologies that instantly lift, firm and visibly reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

Eye Lift Firming Treatment is the first product in the new Murad Professional collection. Now you can bring home the same professional-strength formulas used in Dr. Murad’s dermatology office for dramatically more youthful skin without post-surgical downtime.  

With the ability to hold 1000 times its weight in water, Hyaluronic Acid provides the intense and lasting hydration required to effectively fight the age-related dryness that makes lines and wrinkles appear deeper. By encapsulating Hyaluronic Acid in microspheres, these sponge-like molecules can penetrate deep into the skin’s surface to provide immediate and lasting plumping that creates a smooth “filled” appearance-- as if lines and wrinkles have been lifted with an injectable filler. 
Free of parabens, sulfates, and phtalates.  Each bottle comes with 40 eye pads for added efficacy.  Three pumps per eye area for ten minutes, once or twice weekly will make for lighter, lifted, more luminous eyes.  
US$ 68 for 1 oz, available at Murad and Sephora.   

Super shout out to Jessica at Nashville's Green Hills Sephora, for her friendly nature, passion, and professionalism.  Her excitement for this product pushed me to try it right in the store.  Well done, ma'am! 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

rethink the religious

I always imagined St. John Knits clients to be a very specific demographic.  Maybe it's because my favorite mentor and Vice President in college had an unending supply of the brand's trademark woven jackets, shells, skirts, and pants, but I always associate St. John Knits with powerful women, established in their professional and personal lives, and worldly.  After seeing their latest collection, I'm adding a few new adjectives to the mix: young, flirty, and seriously sexy.

What's most impressive?  The brand hasn't lost their core.  Still present are the jackets, day dresses, and everyday pieces you'd expect. But also in the mix are body hugging skirts, skin tight tuxedo pants with sheer lace up the legs, and everything else with a dash of flirt and flair.

An eye-catching geometric pattern covers this St. John three-quarter sleeve Elia knit jacket. Boasting a jewel neckline and a knit trim border, this jacket is an inspired option perfect for the office.
SKU: K61G031-6R2; US$ 1495

An elegant foundation to any ensemble, this St. John stretch silk crepe de chine shell features a contrast bow neckline and side slits. SKU: K91GW01-6R2; US$ 495

The St. John Classic Cady pant goes comfortable and carefree in this wide-leg cropped Gaucho fit. Pockets and belt loops make these as functional as they are chic. Pair them with a knit jacket and gold jewelry for a playful yet polished look. SKU: K81GW21-6R2; US$ 595

This collection is inspired by the jetset life, with a dash of Greece and architectural Europe.  The gaucho pants above have the perfect movement and drape, making for the perfect piece in your wardrobe.  Easily transition from professional to personal events in a look with these tall, column-like silhouettes.  Unlike other brands, St John produces all aspects of their looks in-house, from proprietary patterns and hand-painted fabrics to elaborate buttons and jewelry.
Brighten up for the new season in this St. John Windy knit topper. Offered in a fresh shade of aqua, this immaculately tailored jacket is an inspired choice for any occasion.  SKU: K61G071-6R2;
An enlivened option for workweek chic, this St. John windy knit dress boasts a classic scoop neck for versatile styling. Pair this flattering sheath with it's coordinating topper for elegant ease.  SKU: K11G0H1-6R2; US$ 895

 No detail is too small.  Feather light knits not only breathe, but stretch in all the right places without compromising the integrity of the garments.  Bespoke details you'd expect from higher end ateliers like visible darting, hand drawn fabric design, laser cut details, and top quality materials are the name of St John's game.  This aqua look makes for the perfect base to your new Pantone Color of the Year accessories in Rose Quartz and Serenity.
A sophisticated draped neckline imbues this St. John liquid satin top with timeless appeal. A shimmer knit back panels adds extra sparkle to any evening separate. SKU: K52G031-6R2; US$ 495.
A glamorous iteration of the signature St. John skirt, this shimmer knit fit and flare silhouette transitions seamlessly from day to night. Pair with a liquid satin top and gold jewelry for effortless sophistication. SKU: K72G011-6R2; US$ 695.

As always, St John makes for easy mix and match, between the entire collection and items you already own.  The collection has a City Chic tone, highlighting gold zippers, lace panels, perfect pleats, and the right amount of fringe and finesse. 

Don't worry - the brand hasn't lost its base.  You'll still find the everyday black and navy suiting, double knotted fringe, and plethora of shells, cardigans, and jackets.  Only now you'll add sexy jumpsuits and sultry skirts. 

Maybe now you won't think twice about raiding your Nana's closet. 

Super shout out to Natalie & Co. at Nashville's Green Hills Nordstrom for the invitation.  You provide a world class shopping experience every day, for every customer, every time.  Keep up the great work. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

sixty-nine years and soixante-neuf ans

J'adore Dior

On this very day, sixty-nine years ago, at half past ten in the morning, a certain Monsieur Christian Dior showed his very first collection at the House of Dior.  Can you imagine the glitz, the glamour, and those gorgeous girls?!  The war had just ended and this was definitely a revolutionary spectacle for the press perched in the salons of 30 Avenue Montaigne.  Harper's Bazaar editor-in-chief Carmel Snow was a massive fan and support, describing those long, flowing dresses with tiny waists, rounded shoulders, and sexy bust lines as the new look! Gone were the days of rations, sadness, and stress of war; in was a celebration of femininity, a combination of sexy seduction and powerful poise.

Here's to you,  Monsieur.  Joyeux anniversaire.  

Friday, February 5, 2016

a request and dedication

When I was just a wee little joey, my family would cook breakfast together after mass on Sundays. The soundtrack to this family fest and feast was always Casey Kasem as he counted down the hits across the land.  One of my favorite memories was making up fake requests and dedications, just like the featured caller.

During my undergraduate experience, I was a student assistant in the Office of the President.  During projects and throughout the day, I'd listen to music.  And to keep things lighthearted and fun, I'd randomly make "requests and dedications" to the ladies in the office.  Everyone would take the occasional and much needed 4 minutes to laugh, have a brief dance party, and then move on with the day's tasks with an added dash of pep in their step.

Coffee is so much more than just a beverage for me.   One of my favorite things to do is dedicate my coffee.  While (very easily) preparing my morning obligatory cuppa joe, I take a moment to honor someone or something that I'm particularly loving.  This thanksgiving really makes me smile, reminds me how to be the best version of me that I'm able, and helps make for a wonderful day.

We'll never know how powerful a simple act of kindness and recognition may be.  If we can go out of our way to make someone's day a little bit more palatable, shine a little brighter, or exist with a little more meaning, why not?

Give it a try.  Spend a moment to thank a colleague, encourage a friend, or call a family member.  You'll both be better for it.

Change starts with one.  Change starts with me.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

safety and style on the road, with a certain sport utility

I must admit, when Tesla first started making automobiles, I wasn't exactly their biggest fan.  Yes, the cars were beautiful, but I felt like I needed to see a little more time and experience in their portfolio.  Are electric cars practical?  What happens when the ever-important battery needs replacing?  Will I need to sell a kidney to replace something when it breaks?

We can't fear what we don't know.  And I must say, some 13 years after making some of the safest, speedy, and quite frankly sexiest cars on the planet, I must say - I am obsessed to the power of X.

Model X is the safest, fastest and most capable sport utility vehicle in history. With all-wheel drive and a 90 kWh battery providing 257 miles of range, Model X has ample seating for seven adults and all of their gear. And it’s ludicrously fast, accelerating from zero to 60 miles per hour in as quick as 3.2 seconds.

Tesla Launches Model X from Tesla Motors on Vimeo.

 Must.  Have.  Now. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Brunello Cucinelli

There's something undeniably inspiring about someone with a personal creed, a mission statement for success in a life focused on uncompromising beauty, supreme quality, and absolute goodness.  This is Brunello Cucinelli.  Maybe it's our shared love of the same color palette, or how I dream of the most luxurious leathers and softest cashmere, often staples in his collections.  Either way, I'm definitely a fan and hope to own a few pieces before I die.  And if not, I'm sure everyone wears a little Cucinelli in heaven anyway.

I can't enough of this backpack from the spring/summer collection.
A backpack with an exquisitely summery nature, the "Summer" bag in canvas coupled with viscose linen and buffalo leather takes up the shapes of a classical deconstructed duffle in a high quality rendition. It has a long adjustable padded shoulder strap and a double opening: with a branded Brunello Cucinelli zipper on the side and closure folded over the hook on the top.

I love how the neutral colors are always so calming, allowing for a few key splashes of color to breathe life and character with style + class.  I really love this look below.  If I were to make one minor change - I wouldn't roll up the sleeves.  But if I had better biceps, I'd probably roll up all of my shirt sleeves.  This is casual chic at its finest.  Everyday elegance. 

These aren't just clothes and accessories. Questa è la tradizione; è l'amore; è arte.